More than any fantasy position, matchups have to be weighed when making lineup calls on tight ends.
It is just a fickle position in fantasy football. Except for the elite few, production among tight ends is insanely inconsistent.
So, here is a look at three tough tight end decisions with enough information for owners to make the right lineup call.
Vernon Davis, 49ers
Week 11 Opponent: Bears
Vernon Davis is one of the most talented athletes in the NFL, but he is rapidly turning into a fantasy bust.
Davis has not recorded a touchdown since Week 3 and over his last three, he is averaging just two catches per game.
This is less about Davis than it is his role in the offense. Defenses are keying on him, and the 49ers have more options in the passing game than they did a season ago.
As ESPN's Mike Sando points out, since Week 3, Davis has been targeted in the red zone zero times, while six other 49ers have been targeted in the red zone at least one time.
So keep that in my mind and also consider that the Bears know how to stop tight ends. Football Outsiders ranks them as the best in the league at defending tight ends in the passing game, and they have allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Verdict: Sit Him
Antonio Gates, Chargers
Week 11 Opponent: Broncos
Antonio Gates is a shell of his former dominant self, but he is still an extremely effective tight end. Gates got off to a slow start this year, but he is coming on strong.
He has four touchdowns on the season and all have come in his last four games.
Last week, he pulled in four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. He is in line for a similar outing this week.
San Diego is going to have to put the ball in the air plenty to try and hang with the Broncos, and when they do, they should be looking for Gates.
The Broncos have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than any other team this season, and Football Outsiders ranks them 18th in guarding tight ends, which is easily their worst against any position.
Gates will be given plenty of opportunities to succeed in this one.
Verdict: Start Him
Jason Witten, Cowboys
Week 11 Opponent: Browns
Jason Witten has been pulling in passes at a prodigious rate recently, but he still isn't finding paydirt. He hasn't had a touchdown in his last five games, and he has just one all season.
Defenses are keying on Witten in the red zone, and this is really hurting his fantasy production.
While the 30-year-old is making up for it with a ton of catches, he won't find the going so easy this week.
The Browns are defending tight ends extremely well. They have allowed the third fewest points to tight ends this year, and Football Outsiders ranks them second in defending tight ends.
Witten will still get some catches, but his production is going to take hit. If you have an avenue to another viable option, I strongly recommend it.
Verdict: Sit Him
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